Homeowners fight to save Garden District oak

Homeowners fight to save Garden District oak
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There is a neighborhood effort in the Baton Rouge Garden District to save an old oak tree.

The city-parish wants to cut down a tree on Cherokee Street near Camelia Avenue. The East Baton Rouge Department of Public Works claims it is dying, but some homeowners argue it can be saved.

It is hard to ignore the charm of the century old oaks that line nearly every street in the historic Garden District.

"That's why people move here, mainly because of the trees," Diane Geheber said.

Geheber, a homeowner, said it is what drew her to the neighborhood more than a decade ago. She and some others said they have noticed some of the oaks beginning to disappear.

A spokesman for the DPW said the parish recently began removing trees with dead limbs to keep them from falling on passing and parked cars. According to an email from the Garden District Civic Association Board, the tree on Camelia is next on DPW's list.

"It's all new wood. Uh, this is not hollow at all," Dennis Swain said.

Dennis Swain, who lives nearby and said he once ran a tree service, is concerned the city-parish is trying to cut down a tree that can be saved.

"Most trees die from the top down, and you can see the canopy is fully green. There are a few dead limbs. I asked them (DPW) to come take them out before, and it just hasn't happened yet," Swain said.

While many of the old oaks are healthy and will remain, neighbors said cutting down even one makes a big difference.

"That's a huge hole if you take that whole tree down, which is going to be sad," Geheber said.

It is a piece of the Garden District's unique landscape that they fear some have taken for gr anted. Jay Ruffin, the landscape manager for the DPW, said the tree will be removed later this week.

The neighborhood association plans to plant another one in its place.

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